OK, time’s running out, but if you’re still searching for gifts for the outdoor enthusiasts in your life, I have a couple of suggestions for small, thoughtful gifts that just might save your proverbial bacon.
But read on after this warning: they’re not digital. They’re profoundly analog creations called: books.
The first is for the young outdoor enthusiast in your life and the title says it all “Wonders of Nature”. It’s a big book, size-wise, and chock full of information, but not the genus/species kind of stuff that chased many of us from careers in biology.
Wonders of Nature (top) by French illustrator Florence Guiraud covers "Explorations in the World of Birds, Insects and Fish" in wonderful drawings, easily understood writing, and a fascinating layout (below).
This book features stunning illustrations and covers the creatures that most quickly capture the imagination of its target audience, children ages 5-9. It has a semblance of the drawings of the great wildlife illustrators like John James Audubon or the watercolors of Ernst Haeckel, combined with whimsical “expressions” for lack of a better word, that would make many of these wonderfully detailed and illustrated creatures look right at home in an animated cartoon.
It’s an English translation of a book originally published in Guiraud’s native French, but the drawings need no translation. The back cover of the book describes it best for me as it welcomes readers to “Nature’s Cabinet of Curiousities!” and explains the creatures inside feature long necks, crested heads, furry feelers, speckled scales, as well as creatures of the deep.
If you think she’s kidding, the illustration of the Deadleaf Mantis or the Cockchafer Beetle’s feelers will convince even the most skeptical. And her illustrations of butterflies, moths and tropical fish will have the kids in your life begging for trips outside to look for these amazing creatures.
And luring them outside isn’t a bad thing, is it?
Wonders of Nature isn’t inexpensive at $25, but if you think of it as a coffee-table book for kids, the price looks downright reasonable. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can score one for $19.03 and get it delivered by Thursday, December 20. Here’s the link: https://www.amazon.com/Wonders-Nature-Explorations-World-Insects/dp/379137365X/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1545089334&sr=8-3&keywords=wonders+of+nature
If you have someone on your list who happens to be more interested in writing in books than reading them -yes, I’m talking about journaling, here’s a personal recommendation.
For the past few months, I’ve been carrying a handmade leather journal from Soothi (www.soothi.com). It’s the closest I’ll probably ever come to writing a book, but I’m finding that the idea of writing down ideas, impressions and making sketches one of the more therapeutic things I’ve ever done that didn’t involve exercise.
Soothi's journals include a variety of covers, from handmade fabrics, to one-of-a-kind leather covers like this. Smoothi photo with permission.
My journal is their “Refillable World Map” ($52) and frankly, I feel like a true explorer or outdoorsman when I put it and a couple of pencils into my briefcase, backpack or suitcase for a sojourn. It’s small like a paperback (5x7x1 -inch) has 100 pages of handmade cotton paper and, best of all, is refillable. It’s also advertised as being bleed-resistant and fountain-pen friendly, but I don’t plan to work in ink- or bleed on mine. It already has enough character in its embossed world map on the rustic leather cover to have brought comments from people who have noticed that I have taken to writing things down on something other than the “Notes” function on my phone.
Soothi has a wide variety of journals, inserts (lined/unlined) and you can find a cover for almost anyone - especially if you’re looking to encourage them to write their story. You might not believe it, but there’s a story inside everyone…even you.
Soothi’s isn’t guaranteeing delivery by Christmas, but you can still save 20% on your purchase with the coupon code “Holiday20” - it’s enough to cover the cost of USPS priority shipping -and you might get lucky.
Even if you miss getting one of these journals under the tree, it’s one of those gifts that will still be an inspiration to whomever is fortunate enough to get one. And I guarantee you’ll be remembered for it.